The Plan to Rear Fish on the Moon


Researchers in France are testing which fish eggs are best suited to being launched to the moon.

Cyrille Przybyla, an aquaculture researcher at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, dreams of designing a lunar fish farm that uses water already on the moon to help feed residents of the future Moon Village set to be established by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Lunar Hatch project is just one of around 300 ideas currently under evaluation by the ESA, and may or may not be selected for the final mission. Przybyla’s hope, though, is to offer lunar residents fresh, appetizing, protein-rich food—not just packets of freeze-dried grub.

“I proposed the idea to send eggs, not fish, because eggs and embryos are very strong,” says Przybyla.

His experiments so far suggest that he is right. However, his team’s research has also suggested that not all fish are equally spaceworthy.

To begin their search for the perfect astro-fish to serve on the moon, Przybyla and his colleagues whittled down a list of hundreds of species to just a handful—those with modest oxygen requirements, low carbon dioxide output, a short hatching time, and a resistance to charged particles, since life forms are exposed to radiation during space travel. They then decided to probe the integrity of eggs produced by two species—European seabass and meagre.

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